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Are You Experiencing Sudden Hearing Loss?

Sudden hearing loss can occur without any obvious cause and it can be a worrying experience that some sufferers find it difficult to acknowledge and seek help for. This type of hearing loss tends to affect one ear and can present as full or partial hearing loss. It may be easy to initially brush sudden hearing loss off as an ear or sinus infection, but it's best not to self-diagnose. In some cases, this type of hearing loss can cause permanent damage to the auditory nerve when left untreated, so it's important to have the affected ear examined as soon as you notice a change in your hearing. Read on to find out more about sudden hearing loss.

Causes Of Sudden Hearing Loss

It's not always possible to identify why you have developed sudden hearing loss, but possible causes include an abnormal growth or tumour in the inner ear, trauma and a bacterial or viral ear infection. Certain neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, and diseases affecting the immune system, such as Cogan syndrome, can also cause sudden hearing loss. Additionally, certain medications including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories and aminoglycosides can cause sudden hearing loss as a side effect.

Diagnosing And Treating Sudden Hearing Loss

When you develop sudden hearing loss you will be seen by an audiologist. They will examine your ear canal and carry out a hearing test to establish how severe your hearing loss is and whether there are certain sounds or frequencies you can hear more clearly than others. You may also have a CT scan or MRI to check for the presence of a growth or other obstruction and to allow your audiologist to see whether there's any structural damage or inflammation in your inner ear. Blood tests may also be necessary to determine whether an infection is present and whether your organs are functioning well. A thorough diagnostic process can help diagnose an underlying condition that's causing sudden hearing loss.

Treatment for this type of hearing loss is very much dependent on the cause. You may require antibiotics or anti-inflammatories to treat an infection and help your ear recover, and surgery is often required if you have an abnormal growth or blockage in the inner ear. If an underlying medical condition has caused sudden hearing loss, you will be referred to the relevant specialist for treatment, which may alleviate your hearing loss.

If you're experiencing sudden hearing loss, contact an audiologist.